MAGIC projects gather residents’ views on rainwater management

A community research project led by the University of Sheffield is seeking city residents’ thoughts about rainwater management in urban areas, with a focus on flood alleviation and community wellbeing.

MAGIC Bilton and MAGIC Derringham have engaged two community artists to help stimulate conversation about rainwater management in these areas.

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Residents have the unique opportunity to inform planners and engineers, helping to shape two rainwater management construction projects in their neighbourhoods, which will begin in Spring 2021.

Rachel Elm is the community artist for MAGIC Derringham, she said: “We’re recruiting residents of Derringham and Bilton, people who might want to become actively involved in improving the flood resilience of these areas. We’re bringing people together to create a flood management feature. We don’t know what that will be yet, because we’re not the ones deciding that, we want the residents to decide what they’re going to see on their doorsteps.”

The MAGIC project grew out of a previous one-year research project that happened in 2019. It was officially called The MOCA project, but became known as The Rain Tank project. That project asked residents to install tanks to collect rainwater, and to empty those tanks before heavy rain was forecast to increase immediate storage capacity, and decrease pressure on urban drains.

Stephen Dale, Bilton
Stephen Dale, Clerk to Bilton Parish Council, and MAGIC Bilton participant.

Stephen Dale is Clerk to Bilton Parish Council, he took part in the earlier project, and is now excited to be volunteering for the MAGIC Bilton project. He’s keen to encourage other Bilton residents to take part too.

Stephen said: “I’m certainly keen to get on board. I think there’s a chance to enhance some of the facilities in the village. If we can find some way of storing excess water and releasing it in a slow trickle when needed, that’s what we’re about. Everyone was affected by the flooding of 2007. We had houses under water, and people out of their homes for 18 months. I’m looking forward to the suggestions people have, we can come up with solutions that serve the issues many people have.”

Residents are being encouraged to think creatively about how their neighbourhoods can be made safe from flooding, as well as how they can create something that everyone can enjoy.

Volunteers to the MAGIC projects are being offered boxes of creative activities to help them understand the issues they face, and the exciting opportunities available to them.

Jemma Brown, community artist for MAGIC Bilton, said: “We’re giving each participant three boxes with activities in. They can feed back to us what they would like, where they would like it, how they use the area that they live in. We can make sure that what is built in the spring of 2021 is exactly what they community wants.

“Ideally, we want participants from all age ranges,” added Jemma. “Grandparents, grandchildren, families. These are fun activities that people can do as families. They’re one-off fun tasks that you can put as much or a little into as you want. All three boxes will go out, and be collected in, before Christmas.”

The MAGIC Bilton and MAGIC Derringham projects are an exciting way for people to have a voice, influencing the delivery of new infrastructure which aims to make homes safer, and neighbourhoods more neighbourly places to live.

To take part, contact Rachel and Jemma via social media or email.

Twitter: @Biltonmagic@MDerringham

Facebook group: Magic BiltonMagic Derringham

Instagram: @magicbilton


Phone/Text: 07732 537085

The research project is led by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield, in collaboration with the Hull and East Riding ‘Living with Water’ Partnership, and Timebank Hull & East Riding.

[Jerome Whittingham, editor, HULL IS THIS]